Latvian born, Elina Ruka received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2013 to pursue her MFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago. She is also recipient of Follett Merit Award and Albert P. Weisman Award at columbia College Chicago. Her photographic work centers upon examining the human relationship with water and photographic medium, questioning our knowledge on both subjects and juggling between reality and illusion. Ruka also works with video and sound.
Her work has been exhibited in Latvia, Belgium, Denmark, France and the United States and numerous online exhibitions. Ruka’s work has been published in Latvian Photography Yearbook (2013) and Generation of Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics (2011). Elina Ruka has taught photography at Latvian Culture College. Today we share her series, Aqueous.
Aqueous starts with a transparent sheet. It is similar to a clear state of mind or the serenity of water at its most quiet form. However, water is in a constant flux; the moment when one thinks they have seen the shape of water, it is already gone. Similarly, the way we feel about water is dependent on our life experiences and circumstances, thus, constantly shifting.
When I am filling the transparency with an image, I am trying to fill the gaps in my knowledge, or rather experience, of water. Since I learn about water from working on it, they are images that create the experience. I layer photographs as if dissecting water and looking for recognizable patterns only to realize that it is an illusion. I construct these realities of knowledge, movement and depth within the frames, sometimes also drawing the lines and adding tape, to secure stability even though it is not characteristic of water.
Water makes me think about the existence. Working on the subject is contemplating the ever-changing aspect of life, us, and photography. Therefore, the indeterminacy of subject and life is also the motivator and strength. When working with dripping ink from a printer, I refer to change and uncontrollable aspects of water and life, as well as the movement of the subject and still of the medium. The alteration of the photographs abstracts the world, connecting the fluidity of water, consciousness, medium and form.
To view more of Elina’s work, visit her website.